The Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, is providing this guidance to address borrower and lender questions concerning forgiveness of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, as provided for under section 1106 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), as amended by the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (Flexibility Act).
1. Question: Which loan forgiveness application should sole proprietors, independent contractors, or self-employed individuals with no employees complete?
Answer: Sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals who had no employees at the time of the PPP loan application and did not include any employee salaries in the computation of average monthly payroll in the Borrower Application Form automatically qualify to use the Loan Forgiveness Application Form 3508EZ or lender equivalent and should complete that application.
2. Question: Can PPP lenders use scanned copies of documents, E-signatures, or Econsents for loan forgiveness applications and loan forgiveness documentation?
Answer: Yes. All PPP lenders may accept scanned copies of signed loan forgiveness applications and documents containing the information and certifications required by SBA Form 3508, 3508EZ, or lender equivalent. Lenders may accept any form of Econsent or E-signature that complies with the requirements of the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (P.L. 106-229). If electronic signatures are not feasible, then when obtaining a wet ink signature without in-person contact, lenders should take appropriate steps to ensure the proper party has executed the document. This guidance does not supersede signature requirements imposed by other applicable law, including by the lender’s primary federal regulator.
3. Question: If a borrower submits a timely loan forgiveness application, does the borrower have to make any payments on its loan prior to SBA remitting the forgiveness amount, if any?
Answer: As long as a borrower submits its loan forgiveness application within ten months of the completion of the Covered Period (as defined below), the borrower is not required to make any payments until the forgiveness amount is remitted to the lender by SBA. If the loan is fully forgiven, the borrower is not responsible for any payments. If only a portion of the loan is forgiven, or if the forgiveness application is denied, any remaining balance due on the loan must be repaid by the borrower on or before the maturity date of the loan. Interest accrues during the time between the disbursement of the loan and SBA remittance of the forgiveness amount. The borrower is responsible for paying the accrued interest on any amount of the loan that is not forgiven. The lender is responsible for notifying the borrower of remittance by SBA of the loan forgiveness amount (or that SBA determined that no amount of the loan is eligible for forgiveness) and the date on which the borrower’s first payment is due, if applicable.
4. Question: Are only salaries or wages covered by loan forgiveness, or can a borrower pay lost tips, lost commissions, bonuses, or other forms of incentive pay and have such costs qualify for loan forgiveness?
Answer: Payroll costs include all forms of cash compensation paid to employees, including tips, commissions, bonuses, and hazard pay. Note that forgivable cash compensation per employee is limited to $100,000 on an annualized basis.
5. Question: What expenses for group health care benefits will be considered payroll costs that are eligible for loan forgiveness?
Answer: Employer expenses for employee group health care benefits that are paid or incurred by the borrower during the Covered Period or the Alternative Payroll Covered Period are payroll costs eligible for loan forgiveness. However, payroll costs do not include expenses for group health care benefits paid by employees (or beneficiaries of the plan) either pre-tax or after tax, such as the employee share of their health care premium. Forgiveness is not provided for expenses for group health benefits accelerated from periods outside the Covered Period or Alternative Payroll Covered Period. If a borrower has an insured group health plan, insurance premiums paid or incurred during the Covered Period or Alternative Payroll Covered Period qualify as “payroll costs,” as long as the premiums are paid during the applicable period or by the next premium due date after the end of the applicable period. As noted, only the portion of the premiums paid by the borrower for coverage during the applicable Covered Period or Alternative Payroll Covered Period is included, not any portion paid by employees or beneficiaries or any portion paid for coverage for periods outside the applicable period. Loan Forgiveness Payroll Costs FAQ 8 outlines the rules that apply to owner health insurance.
6. Question: How is the amount of owner compensation that is eligible for loan forgiveness determined?
Answer: The amount of compensation of owners who work at their business that is eligible for forgiveness depends on the business type and whether the borrower is using an eight-week or 24-week Covered Period. In addition to the specific caps described below, the amount of loan forgiveness requested for owner-employees and self-employed individuals’ payroll compensation is capped at $20,833 per individual in total across all businesses in which he or she has an ownership stake. For borrowers that received a PPP loan before June 5, 2020 and elect to use an eight-week Covered Period, this cap is $15,385. If their total compensation across businesses that receive a PPP loan exceeds the cap, owners can choose how to allocate the capped amount across different businesses.
7. Question: Do businesses qualify to get a second PPP loan?
Answer: Yes. Businesses that got a PPP loan when the program first went into effect now may apply for a “second draw,” so long as they’re not a public company, don’t employ more than 300 people, have used or will fully use their first PPP loan for authorized uses, and can show at least a 25% drop in gross receipts in the first, second or third quarters of this year compared to the same quarter in 2019.
8. Is it true that restaurants and hotels can get bigger loans?
Answer: Yes. Most eligible businesses may get a loan equal to 2.5 times their average monthly payroll expenses, just as before. But restaurants and lodging businesses may now apply for loans equal to 3.5 times monthly payrolls.
9, Are the loans tax free?
Answer: Yes. The loans will continue to be tax-free for recipients if they’re used for authorized purposes, and now payroll expenses paid for with the loans can also be classified as tax-deductible items.